Delaware to take part in health care reform plan

DOVER — Delaware is one of 14 states chosen to participate in a nationwide initiative focused on reducing costs in health care.

Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, announced Thursday the state will take part in the National Governors Association’s Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network. The cooperative effort can help states prepare for the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act at the federal level.

Repeal could lead to Delaware choosing between facing approximately $100 million in new expenses or booting about 10,000 people off health care coverage.

“I believe that the technical assistance provided through this opportunity will make a significant difference in our efforts to curb the growth of health care spending in Delaware and to prepare for the statutory and regulatory parameters of any new Medicaid or private health insurance reforms that may be enacted in Washington,” Gov. Carney said in a statement.

“The work of our Delaware team will have a direct impact on the lives of all Delawareans, including state employees and retirees, those who are covered by Medicaid, and individuals and families who depend on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for quality health care.”

Delaware’s representatives on the team are:

•Dr. Kara Odom Walker, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services;

•Molly Magarik, deputy secretary for DHSS;

•Chris Hudson, director of Budget Development, Planning and Administration with the Office of Management and Budget;

•Regina Mitchell, fiscal and policy analyst with OMB;

•Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health;

•Stephen Groff, director of the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance;

•Laura Howard, executive director of the Health Care Commission;

•Sheila Grant, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Carney.

Delaware also will join six other states in a working group looking at maternal and child health.

“We are at a critical stage in our health care delivery transformation,” Dr. Walker said in a statement. “As participants in the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network, we will be able to tap into some of the best ideas and innovations in the country, including global spending targets to curb the growth of health care spending, and bring them to our state.

“We believe that will lead us to additional ways to improve the health of Delawareans and their experience with the health care system, while reducing the overall costs.”

Delaware officials have in recent years stressed the importance of slowing the growth of health care costs, a rapidly rising expense in the state budget.

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